Variation 16

Variation 16 once again combines several strategies.

  • The first beat features an octave displacement
  • The second and third beat employ goal oriented diminution into a chord tone. This results in a fast rising scale – a powerful surface level compositional effect. Using goal orientation within the context of arpeggiation guarantees that the counterpoint supports the underlying voice leading pattern and does not contradict it.

Let’s study the transition from measure 6 to 7 in this variation. On the surface this seems like a very daring line for a baroque work. Here’s the same spot from the work’s first edition from 1715:

Vivaldi, Antonio. “Suonate da camera a tre, Op.1¬†(No.12).” Amsterdam:¬†Estienne Roger Marchand Libraire, n.d.[1715].

The bass leaps from a C# down to a D and then down to a G. Taken out of context, this certainly seems out of style for a Baroque piece.

Can you explain how Vivaldi ended up writing this line and why it makes sense?

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